OR: A Lawyer’s Personal Touch at $600 an Hour

You can’t say attorney James Berrien wasn’t devoted to Geraldine and Ned McMurtry.

In December 2008 — a fairly typical month, best I can tell — Berrien tended to the elderly siblings’ affairs on 21 different occasions, including Christmas Eve. He frequently dropped by their 135-acre Newberg property, made arrangements to install a new furnace, bought Ned a shaver and signed checks for their caregivers.

Heck, according to his fastidious records, the Hillsboro attorney even lent his shoulder to “extracting” the McMurtrys’ car from a snow drift.

So, yes, Berrien was devoted to Geraldine — 92 at the time — and her 89-year-old brother.

And he billed them accordingly. The bill for December 2008 came to $24,415, including $1,200 for each “visit” with his clients, $720 to check-in on Ned at his rehab center and $25 each time Berrien signed a check.

Between 2003 and 2010, when Berrien had total control of the McMurtrys’ finances, he billed the siblings more than $1,084,000 in attorney fees at his austere hourly rate.

“We have multiple documented charges of $600 an hour,” said Kateri Walsh, spokeswoman for the Oregon State Bar.

Steve Duin: A Lawyer’s Personal Touch at $600 an Hour


5 Responses to “OR: A Lawyer’s Personal Touch at $600 an Hour”

  1. Thelma Says:

    What a sweet guy!

  2. Scott Says:

    Wish somebody "cared" for James Berrien as much as he supposedly cared for Geraldine and Ned McMurtry!

  3. Nancy Says:

    He may have cared for them at first, but ugly greed took over………

  4. jonell Says:

    He never cared for these people!!! He had a hidden agenda all of the time. He then brought it to light when the bill came out.

  5. Finny Says:

    Yet another greedy lawyer!

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